Seven more San Diegans have died from influenza-related complications, bringing this season’s total to 21, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.
The ages of the people who died ranged from 45 to 96 years of age. All, except two women, ages 45 and 89, had underlying medical conditions.
On a positive note, the number of lab-confirmed cases dropped last week to 322, down from 437 the week before.
“Influenza continues to be widespread in the region,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “People should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.”
For the week ending Jan. 21, 2017, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:
- Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 3 percent of all visits (down from 5 percent the previous week)
- Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 322 (down from 437 the previous week)
- Total influenza deaths to date: 21 (compared to 6 at this time last season)
- Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 2,106 (compared to 784 at this time last season)
How to Prevent the Flu
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop.
Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza. They include:
- People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control
- Pregnant women
- People 65 years and older
- People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk
In addition to getting vaccinated, people should also do the following to avoid getting sick:
- Wash hands thoroughly and often
- Use hand sanitizers
- Stay away from sick people
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean commonly touched surfaces
- If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others
The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. If you don’t have medical insurance, you can go to a County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.